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Australas J Dermatol. 2011 May;52(2):135-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-0960.2011.00747.x. Epub 2011 Mar 29.

Haem arginate as effective maintenance therapy for hereditary coproporphyria.

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Departments of Dermatology Gastroenterology, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.


A 35-year-old woman presented with skin fragility and photosensitivity with blisters affecting her face and hands. Other symptoms included intermittent headache, fatigue, abdominal pain and nausea. Porphyrin studies were markedly raised, with features consistent with hereditary coproporphyria (HCP). Despite strict precautions, symptoms remained significantly problematic. Regular haem arginate infusions of 3 mg/kg per day over 4 days on a monthly basis were commenced and resulted in significant improvement of the patient's symptoms and a reduction in urinary porphobilinogen. Although haem arginate infusion is known as a treatment for severe acute attacks of HCP, the effectiveness of regular infusions as maintenance therapy has not been established. This is the first report of effective symptom control correlating with normalization of biochemical markers in a patient receiving regular haem arginate infusions for the treatment of HCP.

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